Cape Town - Junior Springbok coach Dawie Theron on Friday made seven changes to his team to face South Western Districts at the Bridgton Sports Grounds in Oudtshoorn on Saturday as they conclude their training matches for the World Rugby Under-20 Championship.
The changes will see Blue Bulls lock Eli Snyman and Southern Kings scrumhalf James Hall start earn their first starts for the SA U20s. Hall joined the squad earlier this week after being released by his Vodacom Super Rugby franchise for international duty, while Snyman has recovered from a lower leg injury.
The other changes were in the front row where prop where Kwenzo Blose replaces Franco van den Berg and Carlü Sadie comes in for Jaco Holtzhausen. Snyman, meanwhile, fills the void left by Eduard Zandberg who suffered a concussion against Maties on Tuesday.
In a positional switch, Manie Libbok will start at flyhalf and Curwin Bosch moves to fullback. This will see Hall and Libbok form a new halfback pairing, with Hall replacing Marco Jansen van Vuren, while centre Franco Naude will reunite with captain Jeremy Ward in the midfield.
Theron retained the effective loose trio of Zain Davids, Ernst van Rhyn and Junior Pokomela, as well as the wingers Mosolwa Mafuma and S’busiso Nkosi.
Aside from Zandberg, the only player unavailable for selection was hooker Jan-Henning Campher, who is nursing an ankle injury. He has been replaced in the match-day squad by Western Province hooker Ruan Brits, who was named in the provisional Junior Springbok training squad early in April.
Theron said the changes offered him an opportunity to test player combinations under pressure for the last time before the team departs for Manchester.
“James Hall has been doing very well at the Southern Kings, and I was impressed with what I saw when he took to the field against Maties as a replacement, so I am excited to see him in action against SWD,” said Theron.
“I am also pleased that Eli can play after recovering from his injury because it has been a frustrating few weeks for him on the sidelines.
“With regards to the other changes, I wanted to try out combinations for the last time, as this is our final warm-up match. Hopefully by the end of the game I will have a good idea of the player combinations that will work effectively in the tournament.”
The Junior Springboks will face Japan, Argentina and France in the pool stages of the World Rugby U20 Championship, in Manchester, England from 7 to 25 June. They will depart for the UK on Thursday, 2 June.
15 Curwin Bosch (Sharks), 14 S’busiso Nkosi (Sharks), 13 Jeremy Ward (Eastern Province, captain), 12 Franco Naude (Blue Bulls), 11 Mosolwa Mafuma (Free State), 10 Manie Libbok (Blue Bulls), 9 James Hall (Eastern Province), 8 Junior Pokomela (Eastern Province), 7 Ernst van Rhyn (Western Province), 6 Zain Davids (Western Province), 5 Eli Snyman (Blue Bulls), 4 Cobus Wiese (Western Province), 3 Carlü Sadie (Western Province), 2 Tango Balekile (Eastern Province), 1 Kwenzo Blose (Free State)
16 Ruan Brits (Western Province), 17 Franco van den Berg (Blue Bulls), 18 Denzel Hill (Blue Bulls), 19 Nicolaas Oosthuizen (Eastern Province), 20 Ruben de Villiers (Western Province), 21 Marco Jansen van Vuren (Golden Lions), 22 Embrose Papier (Blue Bulls), 23 Stedman Gans (Blue Bulls), 24 Edwill van der Merwe (Western Province), 25 JT Jackson (Blue Bulls), 26 Keanu Vers (Eastern Province), 27 Jaco Holtzhausen (Blue Bulls)